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The Plaza Theatre has been in operation since 1930 and is one of the largest venues to catch a show in the entire Southwest. It hosts stage shows and also screens movies, but most people that come are awestruck by the grandiose Spanish Colonial architecture and design. The Plaza was nearly demolished in 1986, however a benevolent community association stepped in to save it. Today, guests can see many diverse shows on stage, from popular musicals and stand-up acts to concerts.
Take the El Paso Mission Trail to get a glimpse of this cow-town's frontier past. This nine mile (14.5km) stretch has the famous missions Ysleta and Socorro alongside the San Elizario Presidio and Chapel. The trail originated back between the 16th and 17th Centuries. In fact, these churches are some of the oldest in the country. Check out the pioneer county jail which housed the infamous Billy the Kid or the exhibit on the Salt War of 1877. The Tigua Cultural Center chronicles five centuries of history, from Indian origins to the Spanish conquest. Each of these historic sanctuaries will transport you to a different era. If you want to know the real El Paso, then this trail is an interesting place to start.
The EPMA has been going strong since 1959, providing the city and surrounding area with countless aesthetic delights. About 100,000 visitors come through the doors of the museum annually, to see some of the many temporary exhibits in the well-designed halls and galleries, as well as more than 5,000 permanent artworks. The majority of art focuses on Native American, Mexican and European pieces. The museum offers numerous education programs to enhance one's knowledge and even has it's own art school.
A peculiar region of astounding natural beauty, the Hueco Tanks stands out in the already unique landscape of El Paso. Protected and preserved under the Texas State Parks Commission, this cluster of desert basins, or huecos, is home to historically significant Native American rock art. The park also holds plenty of adventure with rock-climbing, hiking, and other activities available.
The only museum of its kind in the country, the U.S. Border Patrol Museum has more fascinating artifacts and exhibits on this branch of the military than you might think is possible. From photographs to documents to guns and vehicles, the museum is a wealth of patriotic memorabilia. Admission is free, but donations are gladly accepted. The museum provides guided tours upon advanced request.
The historic Magoffin Home today houses a vast collection of Magoffin family artifacts used at the end of the 19th Century. On display guests will find furniture, decorative art and other interesting historical resources from this important El Pasoan clan. Built in 1875, the site still retains an old Texas charm with its period furniture and paintings. The site has become an integral part of the city's rich history as well as a landmark listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Currently, the Texas Historical Commission manages the site and owns the belongings inside.
The El Paso Holocaust Museum and Study Center was established in 1994 by Henry Kellen, a Holocaust survivor. It is an ode to the millions of people who died and to those who endured. This museum presents the atrocities committed during the end of World War II as a grim reminder of hatred and prejudice. Visitors can get a glimpse of that time with the multi-media presentations that cover life before the Third Reich, the subsequent rise of the regime, the concentration camps and more. Admission is free though donations are welcome.
Located on the southernmost tip of the state of Texas, the Franklin Mountains State Park stands at an elevation of 5,426 feet (1,653.84 meters) overlooking the semi-arid expanses of El Paso. Encompassed by the dominant Franklin Mountains, the park offers a virtually never-ending selection of mountain biking, hiking, climbing and cross country driving options. The territory covers nearly 24,247 acres (9,812.41 hectares) and is America's most expansive park within a city's limit. Wildlife includes barrel cactus, Mexican poppy, hackberry, cottonwood, golden eagles, black bears, pumas and ring-tailed cats.
The El Paso Zoo, though modest in size and means, aims to preserve and conserve as many species as possible. The 18-acre (7.28-hectare) grounds feature hundreds of different species, from Amur leopards, Asian elephants, Sumatran Orangutans, alligators, and a host of fish and birds. In the morning the tiny tykes can meet sea lions, and on the African Star train, kids can get a really close look at some of the smaller animals, like the African hedgehog or an opossum. Every autumn the zoo puts on a two-day Elephant Festival. Don't miss it!
The Concordia Cemetery is a place of rest that is filled with historical characters of all types, from Mexican presidents and generals to Civil War Vets and even the man once known as the tallest in the world. There is also an interesting story about Chinese laborers buried here that glumly highlights the tumult of men working on the American railroads. A very interesting cemetery indeed, guests will also find the graves of Buffalo Soldiers, gunfighters, war veterans and during the Halloween season, don't forget to catch the Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) festival.